How to get rid of toxic mold in the home
A major mold infestation can lower your home’s value, damage furnishings and building materials, lead to costly repairs, and negatively impact the health of your family. While serious mold problems often require professional removal, there are ways homeowners can get rid of toxic mold in their homes – and prevent it from coming back.
- Identify mold
Mold is everywhere and can grow anywhere it finds moisture and a comfortable temperature. The most common – and visible – kind of mold is called mildew. Mildew prefers dark or shaded areas and is common in crawlspaces, in shaded areas of the roof or siding, or in grout lines in the kitchen and bathroom. The best way to distinguish mildew from dirt is to spray it with bleach; mildew will begin to lighten after one to two minutes, while a dirty surface will not be affected.
- Repair the source of the moisture
The first step in resolving a mold issue is to identify and remove the source of the moisture. Treating mold without removing the source of the moisture will almost guarantee that the mold will reappear after removal. The most common culprits are leaks around windows, doors, or plumbing fixtures; water damage from floods or burst pipes that were not properly repaired can also cause mold growth.
- Seal around the affected area
Before removing any mold, begin by sealing around the affected area. Seal the room from the rest of the house by using plastic sheeting sealed with tape; air ducts or vents should also be sealed to prevent mold spores from travelling to other areas of the house. If possible use an exhaust fan to help remove mold spores from the room. Respirators, goggles, and gloves should also be worn for safety when dealing with mold.
- Remove visible mold
Begin by using soap and a sponge to remove visible mold. If the area is dry, dampen the affected area to help reduce the risk of mold spores going airborne. Next, use a commercial mold removal product to disinfect the affected areas as well as any adjacent surfaces. It is recommended to test any cleaning product, including bleach, on a small, inconspicuous area first to see if it will cause discoloration or staining.
- Dispose of cleaning materials
Sponges, rags, and other equipment should be placed into heavy duty trash bags and sealed before being removed from the room. Whenever possible, remove trash bags through the closest exit, even if this is through a window; this prevents mold spores from being carried into the main house. Likewise, disposing of the clothes worn during the mold clean up process can help reduce the chance of mold spores spreading.